The Texas State Board of Education approved several dozen social studies textbooks after a contentious battle over their treatment of subjects including climate change, the role of slavery in the Civil War, Islam, and biblical influence in America’s founding. One major publisher, however, withdrew a book from consideration, saying that it was unable to meet all the standards set by the school board.
The Texas Freedom Network, which live-blogged today’s vote, said that much problematic material had been removed from the proposed textbooks, including climate denial and “offensive cartoons comparing beneficiaries of affirmative action to space aliens,” but that references to Moses as an influence on the Constitution and the Old Testament as the root of democracy remained. But TFN notes that publishers posted a number of last-minute changes to the textbooks yesterday, leaving board members and observers without time to figure out exactly what was in the approved texts:
The Texas Education Agency posted scores of pages of publisher comments and textbook revisions after the last public hearing on Tuesday. Miller said scholars did not have an opportunity to review and comment on the numerous changes publishers have submitted since the last public hearing on Tuesday. Some of those changes appeared to have been negotiated with state board members behind closed doors.
During a months-long process, publishers made a number of improvements to their textbooks. Those improvements included removing inaccurate information promoting climate change denialism; deleting offensive cartoons comparing beneficiaries of affirmative action to space aliens; making clearer that slavery was the primary cause of the Civil War; and revising passages that had promoted unfair negative stereotypes of Muslims. Scholars and the general public had ample opportunity to review and comment on those revisions.
However, the new textbooks also include passages that suggest Moses influenced the writing of the Constitution and that the roots of democracy can be found in the Old Testament. Scholars from across the country have said such claims are inaccurate and mislead students about the historical record.
The textbooks were approved despite a last-minute attempt by Truth in Texas Textbooks, a group with ties to the anti-Muslim organization ACT! for America, to remove accurate information about Islam, reduce coverage of civil rights (which it found to promote unsavory “racial politics”), and insert information about Young Earth Creationism sourced to the conservative website Conservapedia. [TFN’s summary of Truth In Texas Textbooks’ complains is in this pdf.]
The Texas Tribune adds that the group’s last-minute request also included downplaying the environmental impact of coal mining and noting in a chapter about colonization that Native Americans already discriminated against and oppressed each other:
The Truth in Texas Textbooks Coalition, all but unheard from for months while new social studies textbooks and instructional materials were being vetted, submitted a 469-page report in late October identifying more than 1,500 “factual errors, omission of facts, half-truths and agenda biases” in proposed materials.
Among its objections: A passage on coal mining should say it has “minimal effect on the environment"; a chapter on Spanish colonization of Latin America should point out the “continuous discrimination and oppression practiced by the native American peoples on each other”; and a statement that Shariah law requires religious tolerance of non-Muslims should be removed.
The group was formed by retired Lt. Col. Roy White, a Tea Party activist who also leads the Bexar County Chapter of ACT! for America, an organization dedicated to fighting extremist Islam. Its founder, Brigitte Gabriel, is known for her views that Muslims in the United States pose a danger to national security.
TFN tells us that it appears that Truth in Texas Textbooks did not succeed in getting any "substantive changes" into the books.
In an interview on Newsmax TV today, Rick Santorum argued that Obama’s actions on deportation relief represent “something that we’ve never dealt with in American history” — despite the fact that several recent GOP presidents also used executive action on immigration.
“The president has acted like a tyrant and he has acted against the Constitution and he has thrown the Republicans and he has thrown the country a curveball, we’ve never dealt with anything like this before,” Santorum said. “That has to be not just backing Republicans in a corner, it’s backing Americans in a corner of a president who thinks he is above the law and above the Constitution.”
Tony Perkins, back from the interfaith conference at the Vatican which he attended along with American anti-gay religious leaders including Rick Warren and Russell Moore, gave an interview reflecting on the experience to the National Review Online’s Kathryn Jean Lopez yesterday.
The Family Research Council president told Lopez that at the conference, “Apart from the pope, almost all of the standing ovations were received by American evangelicals.” When Lopez pressed him on whether the Religious Right should soften its stance on gay rights and marriage equality in order to build a movement going forward, Perkins disagreed.
“It is not that religious groups or groups in society are excluding particular individuals” from marriage, Perkins said, “it is that those who reject such complementarity [between men and women] are essentially excluding themselves from this divine and natural reality.”
He added that it's not insulting to imply that homosexuality is "unnatural" because "when it comes to marriage it is contrary to nature.”
Q: It seems difficult if not near impossible these days to talk about men and women and marriage without sounding like you’re excluding those who are attracted to the same sex. Is it in fact an impossible task?
A: I believe this is why the focus of the colloquium was on “The Complementarity of Man and Woman.” It is not that religious groups or groups in society are excluding particular individuals; it is that those who reject such complementarity are essentially excluding themselves from this divine and natural reality.
Q: When you talk about a natural order, isn’t there a danger of making it seem some are unnatural? That could seem the case with those with same-sex attraction and those who are not married.
A: When it comes to marriage it is contrary to nature.
Q: It still escapes a lot of people why same-sex marriage is a threat to any man and woman’s marriage or marriage itself. If marriage and family are in crisis, why not open it up to more?
A: The crisis in marriage has grown in proportion to the degree to which society has allowed it to deviate from what it was designed to be, a life-long monogamous relationship between one man and one woman.
Pat Buchanan used his syndicated column today to rail against “Caesar Obama,” warning that the president’s executive action on immigration is reminiscent of King George III’s abuses “which sparked the American Revolution.”
After making the patently absurd claim that the U.S. had few racial divisions until recently, Buchanan writes that Obama has “accelerated and ensured the remaking of America” in keeping with his role as a “community organizer [who] did not much like that old America.”
Latino immigration, Buchanan writes, will turn America into “the Third World country of Obama’s dream, no more a Western nation.”
Our rogue president has crossed an historic line, and so has the republic. Future presidents will cite the “Obama precedent” when they declare they will henceforth not enforce this or that law, because of a prior commitment to some noisy constituency.
We have just taken a monumental step away from republicanism toward Caesarism. For this is rule by diktat, the rejection of which sparked the American Revolution.
If this amnesty is followed by a new invasion across the border America cannot control, that, too, will be Obama’s gift to his countrymen.
One wonders. Will poor and working class blacks and whites, Hispanics and Asians, welcome this unleashed competition from the amnestied illegals, for jobs where the wages never seem to rise?
In the four decades before JFK, the nation had a pause in legal immigration. During that pause, the Germans, Irish, Italians, Jews, Poles, Greeks and Slav immigrants who had come in from 1890-1920, and their children and grandchildren, were fully assimilated. They had become not only U.S. citizens, but also identifiably American.
The Melting Pot had worked. We had become one nation and one people, almost all speaking the same language, and steeped in the same history, heroes, culture, literature and faiths.
Today, in 2014, after an influx of perhaps 50 million in 50 years, legal and illegal, no longer from Northwest Europe, or Europe at all, but Latin America, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, of every race, color, creed, culture and language, we seem less a nation than some mammoth Mall of America. An economy, but not a country.
Running in 2008, Obama said he intended to become a “transformational president.” With this decision, he succeeds.
He has accelerated and ensured the remaking of America. Now when the wives and children of the illegals arrive, and their extended families apply for and receive visas, and bring their wives and children, we will become the Third World country of Obama’s dream, no more a Western nation.
But then, the community organizer did not much like that old America.
On Wedesnday’s edition of “Savage Nation,” Michael Savage connected President Obama’s executive action on immigration reform back to Adolf Hitler’s implementation of his Lebensraum policies.
“He’s in a long line of others who have taken the law onto themselves and said they’re not taking the law onto themselves, others who have said they’re acting within the law while they’re acting clearly outside of the law,” he said. “When Hitler invaded a neighboring country, he said he was simply taking back German land on Lebensraum, ‘living room.’”
Hitler, Savage explained, “took a neighbor’s countries away, but he didn’t do it illegally, he said he was doing it perfectly legally, like Obama.”
In the same radio program in which he considered the possibility that the Obama administration had opened the door to the “ethnic cleansing” of whites by Latino immigrants and called President Obama an underachieving product of “affirmative action culture,” Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach cited a racist meme to mock people who didn’t vote in the 2014 elections, saying that nonvoters were just “sitting in front of the TV all day talking on their Obama Phones.”
Kobach made the remarks on his Sunday radio program on Kansas City’s KCMO after taking a call from a listener who told him he had taken a bike to the polls because his truck was in the shop.
His voice dripping with sarcasm, Kobach told the listener: “Thank you so much for taking your rickety bike to vote, because I believe that your voice should be heard because you cared enough to vote. But President Obama thinks that the people who were sitting in front of the TV all day talking on their Obama Phones who didn’t vote, he speaks for those people. And I’m not saying any particular people, but I’m just saying someone who didn’t vote has an equal voice than you who actually got on your bike because you didn’t have a motor vehicle to get to the polls.”
Kobach, a former advisor to Mitt Romney and a driving force behind anti-immigrant laws and voting restrictions throughout the country, has been using his own state as a laboratory for restrictive voting laws, recently implementing a strict ID requirement that left about 20 percent of the state’s voter registration applications in limbo before election day.
On Tuesday, Cliff Kincaid of the right-wing group Accuracy In Media stopped by “Trunews” where he spoke with host Rick Wiles about their dreams of the military arresting President Obama.
After Kincaid lamented that congressional Republicans “don’t want to talk impeachment,” Wiles wondered “why aren’t they saying we’re going to put handcuffs on this guy.”
“Yeah, well, that’s the meaning of high crimes and misdemeanors,” Kincaid replied, while cautioning that such an arrest will probably never happen.
“This is the only way you deal with a hooligan, you tell him we’re coming with handcuffs, we’re going to lock you up,” Wiles said. “I don’t think you can impeach Obama because he’s not a legitimate president, you and I both know he’s a foreign plant, he’s always been a communist agent inside this country and you don’t impeach somebody who went into that office through false pretense. It’s never happened in the republic, but the way you deal with that person is you arrest them.”
Wiles elaborated that he is pulling for the Marines to raid the White House: “It’s time that they recognize that he’s an imposter who is destroying the republic. My greatest, my most wonderful dream is seeing helicopters hovering over the White House with Marines repelling down on the roof and going in there and getting that rascal.”
“It’s a dream, it’s not going to happen, but that’s what should happen and it’s what would’ve happened many years ago in this country because God-fearing, patriotic men would never have permitted this criminal to get away with this stuff. So we are to blame as a people for allowing this criminal to pull off this crime,” he said.
Kincaid also repeated his call for the NSA to monitor Obama as a potential spy, telling Wiles that “we need a Venona Project modern day that’s going to monitor whether from the top on down, from Obama on down, who in our government is working with the enemy.”
He added that the government needs to use the NSA and other surveillance programs “against Obama” and “foreign onslaughts.”
In an interview yesterday with Dan Cofall, Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, accused President Obama of using immigration and the Ferguson case to provoke violence.
When Cofall asked Gohmert about Sen. Tom Coburn’s claim that Obama’s executive action deferring the deportation of some immigrants could result in violence, Gohmert replied that Obama’s critics would never resort to violence since only liberals do that.
“Civil disobedience comes from the left,” he said. “They’re the ones that loot and shoot up and shoot up stores and do all kinds of things like that. If you look at the conservative gatherings, we even pick up our own trash. But it could be that this president is doing all he can to get conservatives who remember the country when presidents didn’t exceed their bounds and wish we would go back to those days, it may be enough to make them that angry. But I hope not, I hope there’s no violence.”
Gohmert also weighed in on the Ferguson case, accusing Obama of inciting violence: “Obviously the president and the attorney general have done all they could to help stir up animosity and fuel the fire and getting people angry at police where they shouldn’t have, but I hope and pray that doesn’t happen. It may happen in Ferguson because obviously they brought in the liberal attack people that just create all the havoc and mayhem they can but I hope and pray that doesn’t spread anywhere else. I’m sure they want it to, I’m sure that people would love to have the federal government intercede, but I would beg conservatives not to get sucked into that trap.”
Suggesting that Obama is pushing conservatives to turn to violence, the congressman said that “this administration will be totally exposed for who and what they’ve been doing.”
Michael Peroutka, a Christian reconstructionist who peddles radical theocratic views at his Institute for the Constitution, recently got a new platform for what he calls his ‘American view’ of government when he was elected as a Republican to a county council position in Maryland.
Although Peroutka has yet to take office, he’s already giving a taste of what it will mean to implement his radical views at a local level. In an interview with Iowa talk radio host Steve Deace on Tuesday, Peroutka urged state and county governments to simply ignore any White House order deferring the deportation of some undocumented immigrants, and instead work independently to “incarcerate” or “deport” immigrants covered by the order.
Deace asked Peroutka what he, as a newly minted GOP elected official, would do about the “Marxist in the White House” who is “supposed to be protecting us from invasion, and here he is implementing one.”
“This action on the part of the president is the action of somebody who hates America and is seeking to destroy America,” Peroutka responded. “I don’t think it can be interpreted any other way. It certainly is an act of treason because it’s aiding and abetting the enemies of America and giving them comfort and aid.”
Peroutka urged Republicans in Congress to move to impeach the president, and added that governors and county executives throughout the country “should resist this in every way they can.”
He advised that local governments tell the president: “We’re not abiding by it, we are still going to either incarcerate or seek to remove and deport those who are here illegally. We’re not going to follow suit and give them aid and comfort like he wants us to do, even though he’s bribing us with money to do it.”
“We as local authorities and as state authorities should resist this scheme,” Peroutka said. “If we did, then it couldn’t go through.”
Earlier this year, Peroutka declared that all laws passed by the Maryland General Assembly were invalid because that body had violated “God’s law” in implementing marriage equality.
Right-wing activist Wayne Allyn Root is once again calling for action to remove President Obama from office, telling talk show host Dan Cofall earlier this month that Obama must be impeached for his diplomacy with Iran, which Root deems “traitorous,” and his execution action on immigration policy.
While nearly all experts believe that the president’s executive action will cover close to five million undocumented immigrants, Root insisted that the president will “legalize 34 million.”
“If he does that, don’t we then have to do instant impeachment? I mean, there’s no choice at that point. You can’t tell me that will break the nation apart, there’s no excuse,” he said.
Today, Root used his syndicated column to continue lashing out at the president, writing a bizarre holiday-themed post mockingly suggesting that Obama hire an Ebola-infected immigrant prepare his Thanksgiving meal:
It's almost Thanksgiving and the Christmas season is upon us. Many of us are already shopping for holiday gifts. So that inspired me to think up a holiday gift list that I hope and pray Obama receives for Christmas! Here are 15 perfect holiday gifts for Obama.
*Obama's Secret Service disarmed- since he doesn't think rest of us need guns for protection.
*Remove the fence around the White House- since Obama doesn't think we need a fence at our Southern border.
*A Christmas dinner at White House prepared and served by illegal immigrants who just arrived from the Ebola Zone- since he thinks rest of us shouldn't worry about Ebola (or illegal immigration).
*If Obama comes under withering fire from terrorists, may he call his favorite General and find him asleep with orders that he not be disturbed for the night. A little taste of the last moments of our heroes at Benghazi might be the ideal Christmas gift!
*And my last Christmas wish for Obama…
IMPEACHMENT in the New Year...prison time for fraud for every Obama aide involved in Obamacare…and a partridge in a pear tree.
Happy Holidays & God Bless everyone.
In an interview this morning with Newsmax TV, conservative activist and potential GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson insisted that President Obama’s executive action providing temporary deportation relief for some undocumented immigrations is part of a “nefarious agenda” to bring government-dependent voters to the U.S.
“I think he’s very smart, he’s very clever, he’s very scheming,” Carson told host J.D. Hayworth. “And, boy, if he could use that intellect on behalf of the American people rather than on behalf of his nefarious agenda, we would be doing quite well.”
“Essentially, is he just trying to instead of get out the vote, bring in the vote?” asked Hayworth, a former GOP congressman from Arizona. “Is this all designed to have new voters — despite the fact he claims they’re not going to get citizenship — is the long-term goal to bring in a new class of voters dependent on government?”
“Of course it is,” Carson replied.
Later in the interview, Carson offered his recommendation for how Republicans in Congress should respond to the president’s announcement: by shutting down the government, but only the parts that are “important to the president” and not any parts that will “hurt the American people.”
“I hope they put in front of them a whole list of the things that can be defunded, and then look specifically at the ones that are going to hurt [Obama] and those around him. Defund those things. I don’t want things that are going to hurt the American people,” Carson said, claiming that during the sequester, President Obama chose to cut funding on programs that would “inflict the most pain on the American people.”
“It’s not an all-or-none phenomenon,” he said. “You don’t have to shut down the important parts of the government. You just defund the things that are important to the president.”
Carson did not provide any specifics of programs to cut that would hurt Obama but not anybody else.
After Republicans failed to capture the White House in 2012, they dusted off a tried-and-true plan to improve their future electoral prospects. No, they wouldn't moderate their views or expand their appeal to win votes. They would just change the way that the votes are counted!
The plan: to rig the electoral college with the ultimate goal of squeaking out a Republican presidential win, even in an increasingly challenging electoral landscape.
Here's how it was supposed to work.
Before the 2010 election, Republican strategists focused energy and resources on gaining control of state legislatures, and succeeded in flipping party control of legislative chambers in blue states including Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. This allowed Republican legislatures to draw congressional districts, gerrymandering their states to ensure future Republican gains even in states where Democrats tend to win statewide.
GOP strategists then took it a step further. What if Republicans used their control over these blue states and their favorably gerrymandered electoral maps to make it harder for Democrats to win presidential elections?
Under the Constitution, each state determines how it will distribute its electoral votes to presidential candidates. All but two states (Maine and Nebraska) have a "winner take all" system, in which the winner of the state's popular vote earns all of its electoral votes. The Republican plan would keep the "winner take all" system in big, solidly red states like Texas. But it would change it in big, blue states like Pennsylvania and Michigan, ensuring that a Democratic candidate who wins the popular vote in the state doesn't go home with all of its electoral votes.
For instance, under the plan originally proposed in Pennsylvania after the 2012 election, which would have divided the state's electoral votes up by gerrymandered congressional districts, Mitt Romney would have won 13 of the state's 20 electoral votes, despite having lost the state's popular vote. Last year, the Republican-controlled state house in the presidential swing state of Virginia put forward a plan to do something similar. If the Virginia plan had been in effect in 2012, Mitt Romney would have carried away nine of the state's 13 electoral vote, despite having lost the state's popular vote to Barack Obama.
Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus made the goal of the scheme clear when he endorsed it last year, saying, "I think it's something that a lot of states that have been consistently blue that are fully controlled red ought to be looking at."
The proposals in Pennsylvania and Virginia sank after groups like People For the American Way got out the word and residents realized the proposals were part of a blatant political ploy. But this month, the scheme was resurrected in Michigan, where a Republican state lawmaker is proposing his own plan to dilute the power of his state's reliably Democratic electoral college block. Under the plan introduced by Rep. Pete Lund, Michigan's electoral votes would be distributed according to a formula tied to the popular vote. It's not as blatant as the original Pennsylvania and Virginia proposals were, but it has the same goal: If it had been in effect in the last presidential election, it would have cut President Obama's electoral total in Michigan down to 12 from 16.
These plans can initially seem reasonable, even to progressives, many of whom are wary of the electoral college system. But this isn't a good-government plan to change the way our presidential elections are conducted. It's a targeted plot to get more electoral votes for Republicans, even when they're losing the popular vote. It's no coincidence that these plans have often been quietly introduced in lame duck sessions, when voters are paying less attention. These measures, if allowed to be passed quickly in a few states with little debate and attention, could have national implications and change American political history.
Voters should be allowed to pick their politicians. But this is yet another case of politicians trying to pick their voters. Like with voter suppression schemes and extreme gerrymandering, the GOP is trying to change the rules of the game for their own benefit. Voters can't let them get away with it.
In an interview with Frank Gaffney on Tuesday, Rosemary Jenks, the director of government relations at the anti-immigrant group Numbers USA, said that any opening of the U.S. military to some people who came to the country illegally would be an “unbelievably dangerous” attack on the military’s “morale” and “integrity.”
“I think this president, not only is he intent on transforming America, he is intent on decimating our military in every way possible, in attacking its morale, in attacking its integrity,” she said. “It is just unbelievably dangerous to put illegal aliens inside the gates with our troops. It is unconscionable the things this president is doing to our military.”
“Well, I really think of it as a wrecking operation, and this fits the profile for sure,” Gaffney agreed.
In September, the Defense Department issued a new policy expanding to a small number of DREAMers an existing Bush-era program that allow some noncitizens with specialized skills serve in the military. USA Today explained the policy change:
The Pentagon program is capped at 1,500 recruits per year. Officials say it's unclear how many of those might be unlawful DACA status immigrants as opposed to others who are also eligible for military service under MAVNI, including those with legal, nonpermanent visas such as students or tourists.
Estimates suggest between 1.2 million and 2.1 million children, teenagers and young adults in the U.S. have no legal immigration status but meet the criteria for the DACA program. Those targeted by recruiters under the MAVNI program likely will be immigrants with language skills critical to national security, such as Arabic, Chinese, Pashto or Persian.
DACA status is granted by the Department of Homeland Security and includes a background check.
On average, the military recruits about 5,000 noncitizens each year, nearly all of them permanent U.S. residents, or so-called "green card" holders. Starting in 2006, the military began accepting some foreigners with nonpermanent visas, such as students or tourists, if they had special skills that are highly valued.
After entering military service, foreigners are eligible for expedited U.S. citizenship. Since 2001, more than 92,000 foreign-born service members have become citizens while serving in uniform.
The MAVNI program began in 2008 and remains a pilot program. The Pentagon notified Congress on Thursday that the program, which was due to expire at the end of this fiscal year, will be extended for another two years and will for the first time include DACA-status immigrants.
The military services are not required to accept recruits under MAVNI. In recent years, the Army has been the only service to accept a significant number of recruits under the program. The Air Force has accepted only a few and the Navy and Marine Corps have not sought MAVNI recruits in recent years.
WASHINGTON – In response to President Obama’s announcement that he will take executive action on immigration, People For the American Way President Michael Keegan released the following statement:
“We applaud President Obama for taking the steps he can within his legal authority to protect millions of undocumented immigrants. By continually blocking progress on immigration reform, Congressional Republicans have chosen to stand with anti-immigrant extremists instead of with the American people. While Congress still needs to reform our nation’s immigration laws, this is a historic step in the right direction.
“This action is the right thing to do for families bearing the weight of our broken immigration system, a system in which approximately 1,100 people are separated from their families every single day. Today, millions of Americans will be able to breathe easier, knowing that their families will no longer be next.
“Action to provide relief to immigrant families cannot and should not wait. We applaud the president for moving our country forward. Now, we must continue to urge Congress to pass immigration reform and fix our broken immigration system once and for all.”
Today People For the American Way and American Bridge released a new video highlighting Congressional Republicans’ continued demeaning rhetoric about immigrants and immigration reform. Last year PFAW released a report, “Congressional Republicans’ Clear Choice on Immigration: Stand With Pro-Reform Majorities or Cave to Anti-Immigrant Extremists,” detailing the strategies that have been used by the Right to block progress on immigration reform.
From accusing them of carrying head lices, scabies and other diseases across the border to saying they should be tracked like “FedEx packages,” Congressional Republicans held nothing back in attacking immigrants on the campaign trail this year. Their remarks were a continuation of a long history of outrageous, offensive and dehumanizing rhetoric from Republican lawmakers about immigrants.
So ahead of President Obama’s immigration reform announcement tonight, American Bridge and People For the American Way released a new video calling out Republicans for their extremist remarks against immigrants and immigration reform. While the President’s executive order will probably affect only some of the millions of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S., it seems likely we will hear more of the same from the Right Wing in the coming months.
As President Obama prepares to announce the steps that he will take to provide temporary deportation relief for some undocumented immigrants, it’s important to remember why he’s taking this step. It’s not because Obama and Democrats refuse to work with Republicans to address pressing immigration problems. It’s because a small but influential segment of the Republican caucus refuses to do anything to fix the immigration system.
Today, we at People For the American Way joined with American Bridge to release a video highlighting the kind of rhetoric from congressional Republicans that has sunk any kind of attempt at bipartisan immigration reform.
Yesterday on “InfoWars,” Alex Jones asked listeners what they expect to happen in 2015. As one might expect, InfoWars fans were a bit frightened about the future, and one even suggested that President Obama could be assassinated.
Jones agreed but with a twist, warning that “the real false flag could be an assassination of Obama or it could be an attempted assassination” that would be used to “lionize” the president and demonize his critics.
“Don’t think that even though he’s their Harvard minion and their golden idol, don’t think that the globalists wouldn’t be above assassinating him to create a martyred deity out of him,” he said.
Ahead of President Obama's immigration reform announcement tonight, American Bridge and People For the American Way are releasing a new video highlighting the continued offensive rhetoric from Congressional Republicans against immigrants and immigration reform.
"While Democrats have offered repeated olive branches to pass balanced, bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform, Republicans have refused to take action. Instead, Republicans have shown their true colors by spending their time playing obstructionist games and making distasteful comments about immigrants in this country," said American Bridge Vice President Eddie Vale.
“Time and again, Republicans have resorted to offensive, dehumanizing rhetoric about the Latino community,” said People For the American Way President Michael Keegan. “Instead of listening to the majority of Americans and working to fix our broken immigration system, GOP leaders continue to cater to their anti-Latino, anti-immigrant base.”
After losing a second landslide election to President Obama in 2012, the GOP commissioned an autopsy on how to win future national elections, which stressed the Party's need to broaden its appeal. Specifically, the report recommended that, "on issues like immigration, the RNC needs to carefully craft a tone that takes into consideration the unique perspective of the Hispanic community."
A mere glance at Republican rhetoric on immigration shows many have not taken those findings to heart. Watch the new video from American Bridge and People For the American Way and see for yourself: http://youtu.be/XT-l4yKxvf4
In response to President Obama's upcoming action on immigration, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has vowed to retaliate by sabotaging the federal court system in his own state.
No, that's not how he phrased it, but that would be the impact of his vow. Yesterday in Politico, Cruz wrote how he thinks the Senate should respond to the president's policy decisions on immigration enforcement:
If the president announces executive amnesty, the new Senate majority leader who takes over in January should announce that the 114th Congress will not confirm a single nominee—executive or judicial—outside of vital national security positions, so long as the illegal amnesty persists.
While such a refusal to perform one of the basic functions of the Senate would harm the entire nation, the damage in Texas would be particularly severe. No state has more judicial vacancies than the Lone Star State. No state even comes close.
As of today, Texas is suffering from eleven current federal court vacancies, with another four known to be opening in the next few months. The White House has worked closely with Sens. Cruz and Cornyn to identify potential nominees, but progress has been slow: Only six of the vacancies even have nominees; three of these have not yet had their committee hearings.
But the other three – for the Eastern and Western Districts – advanced through the Judiciary Committee this morning and are now ready for a confirmation vote by the full Senate. All three would fill vacancies formally designated as judicial emergencies by the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts. Confirming them would be a good start at addressing the vacancy crisis in Texas.
And that's what is it: a crisis. As we wrote earlier this month in a Huffington Post piece entitled Lame Duck Opportunity and Obligation: Confirm Judges:
The situation is even more dire in Texas, where the Senate has a chance to fill three vacancies in the Eastern and Western Districts. The Western District judgeship has been vacant since 2008, and the Judicial Conference has asked for five new judgeships there to carry the load on top of filling all the existing vacancies. Chief Judge Fred Biery discussed the need for new judges last year, saying, "It would be nice to get some help. We are pedaling as fast as we can on an increasingly rickety bicycle." Judge David Ezra, formerly of Hawaii, explained why he was moving to Texas to hear cases in the Western District: "This is corollary to having a big wild fire in the Southwest Border states, and fire fighters from Hawaii going there to help put out the fire."
The Eastern District of Texas is in similar need of getting its vacancies filled during the lame duck: Of the nation's 94 federal districts, only two have had more weighted filings per judgeship than the Eastern District, according to the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts' most recent statistics. Small wonder, then, that the Judicial Conference has asked for two new judgeships there: Even if every judgeship were filled, that just isn't enough. To make matters worse, two more judges in the Eastern District have announced their intention to retire or take senior status next year, making it all the more important to fill the current vacancies now.
Even if the three nominees are confirmed during the lame duck, as they should be, more vacancies in both of those districts will open up early next year. Texas would still have eight vacancies, a number that would rise to twelve in the next few months.
To express his fury at President Obama and rally his right-wing base, Cruz would work to make sure that all these vacancies remain unfilled, which would hurt a lot of innocent Texans.